Blue Ribbon Schools Program by vdfwuy4

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									                                         U.S. Department of Education
                               2011 - Blue Ribbon Schools Program
                                                       A Public School
School Type (Public Schools):
(Check all that apply, if any)            Charter           Title 1         Magnet          Choice

Name of Principal: Mrs. Angela West

Official School Name: Dallas Environmental Science Academy

School Mailing Address:               3635 Greenleaf Street
                                      Dallas, TX 75212-3747

County: Dallas                        State School Code Number: 057905071

Telephone: (972) 794-3950 E-mail: anwest@dallasisd.org

Fax: (972) 794-3951                   Web URL: http://www.dallasisd.org

I have reviewed the information in this application, including the eligibility requirements on page 2 (Part I
- Eligibility Certification), and certify that to the best of my knowledge all information is accurate.

_________________________________________________________ Date _____________________
(Principal’s Signature)

Name of Superintendent*: Dr. Michael Hinojosa Ed. D. Superintendent e-mail:
HinojosaM@dallasisd.org

District Name: Dallas Independent School District District Phone: (972) 925-3700

I have reviewed the information in this application, including the eligibility requirements on page 2 (Part I
- Eligibility Certification), and certify that to the best of my knowledge it is accurate.

_________________________________________________________ Date _____________________
(Superintendent’s Signature)

Name of School Board President/Chairperson: Mr. Adam Medrano

I have reviewed the information in this application, including the eligibility requirements on page 2 (Part I
- Eligibility Certification), and certify that to the best of my knowledge it is accurate.

_________________________________________________________ Date _____________________
(School Board President’s/Chairperson’s Signature)

*Private Schools: If the information requested is not applicable, write N/A in the space.

The original signed cover sheet only should be converted to a PDF file and emailed to Aba Kumi, Blue Ribbon Schools Project
Manager (aba.kumi@ed.gov) or mailed by expedited mail or a courier mail service (such as Express Mail, FedEx or UPS) to Aba
Kumi, Director, Blue Ribbon Schools Program, Office of Communications and Outreach, U.S. Department of Education, 400
Maryland Ave., SW, Room 5E103, Washington, DC 20202-8173.

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PART I - ELIGIBILITY CERTIFICATION                                                                        11TX5




The signatures on the first page of this application certify that each of the statements below concerning
the school’s eligibility and compliance with U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
requirements is true and correct.

    1. The school has some configuration that includes one or more of grades K-12. (Schools on the
       same campus with one principal, even K-12 schools, must apply as an entire school.)

    2. The school has made adequate yearly progress each year for the past two years and has not been
       identified by the state as "persistently dangerous" within the last two years.

    3. To meet final eligibility, the school must meet the state's Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)
       requirement in the 2010-2011 school year. AYP must be certified by the state and all appeals
       resolved at least two weeks before the awards ceremony for the school to receive the award.

    4. If the school includes grades 7 or higher, the school must have foreign language as a part of its
       curriculum and a significant number of students in grades 7 and higher must take the course.

    5. The school has been in existence for five full years, that is, from at least September 2005.

    6. The nominated school has not received the Blue Ribbon Schools award in the past five years:
       2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 or 2010.

    7. The nominated school or district is not refusing OCR access to information necessary to
       investigate a civil rights complaint or to conduct a district-wide compliance review.

    8. OCR has not issued a violation letter of findings to the school district concluding that the
       nominated school or the district as a whole has violated one or more of the civil rights statutes. A
       violation letter of findings will not be considered outstanding if OCR has accepted a corrective
       action plan from the district to remedy the violation.

    9. The U.S. Department of Justice does not have a pending suit alleging that the nominated school
       or the school district as a whole has violated one or more of the civil rights statutes or the
       Constitution’s equal protection clause.

    10. There are no findings of violations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in a U.S.
        Department of Education monitoring report that apply to the school or school district in question;
        or if there are such findings, the state or district has corrected, or agreed to correct, the findings.




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PART II - DEMOGRAPHIC DATA                                                                             11TX5



All data are the most recent year available.

DISTRICT

1. Number of schools in the district:    154   Elementary schools
   (per district designation)             32   Middle/Junior high schools
                                          39   High schools
                                           0   K-12 schools
                                         225   Total schools in district
2. District per-pupil expenditure:      9387

SCHOOL (To be completed by all schools)

3. Category that best describes the area where the school is located: Urban or large central city

4. Number of years the principal has been in her/his position at this school:    1


5. Number of students as of October 1, 2010 enrolled at each grade level or its equivalent in applying
   school:


        Grade # of Males # of Females Grade Total                # of Males # of Females Grade Total
         PreK       0            0              0            6       53          24           77
          K         0            0              0            7       40          36           76
          1         0            0              0            8       40          29           69
          2         0            0              0            9        0           0            0
          3         0            0              0           10        0           0            0
          4         0            0              0           11        0           0            0
          5         0            0              0           12        0           0            0
                                                              Total in Applying School:       222




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6. Racial/ethnic composition of the school:      1 % American Indian or Alaska Native
                                                 1 % Asian
                                                31 % Black or African American
                                                61 % Hispanic or Latino
                                                 0 % Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
                                                 6 % White
                                                 0 % Two or more races
                                               100 % Total

Only the seven standard categories should be used in reporting the racial/ethnic composition of your
school. The final Guidance on Maintaining, Collecting, and Reporting Racial and Ethnic data to the U.S.
Department of Education published in the October 19, 2007 Federal Register provides definitions for
each of the seven categories.

7. Student turnover, or mobility rate, during the 2009-2010 school year:            0%
   This rate is calculated using the grid below. The answer to (6) is the mobility rate.

                  (1) Number of students who transferred to
                      the school after October 1, 2009 until       0
                      the end of the school year.
                  (2) Number of students who transferred
                      from the school after October 1, 2009        2
                      until the end of the school year.
                  (3) Total of all transferred students [sum of
                                                                   2
                      rows (1) and (2)].
                  (4) Total number of students in the school
                                                                  225
                      as of October 1, 2009
                  (5) Total transferred students in row (3)
                                                                  0.00
                      divided by total students in row (4).
                  (6) Amount in row (5) multiplied by 100.         0


8. Percent limited English proficient students in the school:              5%
   Total number of limited English proficient students in the school:       10
   Number of languages represented, not including English:                   1
   Specify languages:

  Spanish




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9. Percent of students eligible for free/reduced-priced meals:                                       73%
   Total number of students who qualify:                                                              161
   If this method does not produce an accurate estimate of the percentage of students from low-
   income families, or the school does not participate in the free and reduced-priced school meals
   program, supply an accurate estimate and explain how the school calculated this estimate.
10. Percent of students receiving special education services:                                         1%
    Total number of students served:                                                                   2
    Indicate below the number of students with disabilities according to conditions designated in
    the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Do not add additional categories.
                  0 Autism                                 0 Orthopedic Impairment
                 0 Deafness                               0 Other Health Impaired
                 0 Deaf-Blindness                         1 Specific Learning Disability
                 0 Emotional Disturbance                  1 Speech or Language Impairment
                 0 Hearing Impairment                     0 Traumatic Brain Injury
                                                              Visual Impairment Including
                 0 Mental Retardation                     0
                                                              Blindness
                 0 Multiple Disabilities                  0 Developmentally Delayed


11. Indicate number of full-time and part-time staff members in each of the categories below:
                                                                  Number of Staff
                                                            Full-Time      Part-Time
                      Administrator(s)                           1               0
                      Classroom teachers                        16               0
                      Special resource teachers/specialists      0               0
                      Paraprofessionals                          1               0
                      Support staff                             14               0
                      Total number                              32               0


12. Average school student-classroom teacher ratio, that is, the number of students in the school
                                                                                                     14:1
    divided by the Full Time Equivalent of classroom teachers, e.g., 22:1:




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13. Show the attendance patterns of teachers and students as a percentage. Only high schools need to
    supply graduation rates. Briefly explain in the Notes section any student or teacher attendance rates
    under 95% and teacher turnover rates over 12% and fluctuations in graduation rates.
                                         2009-2010 2008-2009 2007-2008 2006-2007 2005-2006
           Daily student attendance         98%         98%         98%         98%         98%
           Daily teacher attendance         97%         97%         98%         98%         97%
           Teacher turnover rate            21%         21%         5%          19%          0%
           High school graduation rate      0%          0%          0%           0%          0%
   If these data are not available, explain and provide reasonable estimates.

   Teacher turnover rates in 2006-2007, 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 were mainly due to retirements and
   promotions.

14. For schools ending in grade 12 (high schools): Show what the students who graduated in Spring 2010
    are doing as of Fall 2010.
                      Graduating class size:                                0

                     Enrolled in a 4-year college or university                 0%
                     Enrolled in a community college                            0%
                     Enrolled in vocational training                            0%
                     Found employment                                           0%
                     Military service                                           0%
                     Other                                                      0%
                     Total                                                      0%




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PART III - SUMMARY                                                                                       11TX5



The Dallas Environmental Science Academy (DESA) is a specialized middle school that offers a one-of-
a-kind educational program for sixth through eighth grade students who have a strong interest in science,
mathematics and technology. At DESA, students have the opportunity to study and explore first hand
both the environment and the urban setting as well as strive to reach higher standards in science and
mathematics. The school takes a hands-on approach to learning which takes learning beyond the school
doors. Our vision is to develop the foundation of a scientific workforce that will protect and sustain our
environment today and for future generations. Our mission is, “On time, on task and on a mission to
provide and achieve academic excellence for all – with no excuses.”

Located in the heart of West Dallas, DESA is a public middle school with a total enrollment of 222
students who come from all parts of Dallas. The school serves a 92% minority population, and 73% of the
student body is economically disadvantaged. DESA has traditionally shared a campus with other schools
throughout its entire existence, up until this year. A stronger sense of pride prevails among the students,
staff and parents now that we have a school “home” to call our own.

DESA fosters a positive learning environment that produces independent and critical thinkers, creative
problem-solvers, effective communicators, self-directed life-long learners, and technologically-skilled
citizens who graduate with an appreciation for the relevance and understanding of civic responsibilities
and knowledge of life skills. Students use this knowledge to prepare for and to succeed at colleges and
universities upon graduation from high school.

DESA’s culture of high expectations, competition, “whatever it takes with no excuses” mindset and
college readiness, has awarded the campus several recognitions. DESA is a recipient of the Texas
Business Education and Coalition Award for the sixth consecutive year. This honor roll award is the
most prestigious academic award that a Texas public school can achieve. Moreover, DESA is among the
few public middle schools in Texas to receive a distinguished Great Schools Rating of 10 out of
10. DESA students are known for winning awards such as the Texas Do the Write Thing Essay Contest,
the Earth Day EPA Recycled Art Contest, Math and Science Olympiad, Science Fair and the Common
Cents Community Service Scholarship.

At DESA, emphasis is placed on developing leaders at school and in the community. In the morning
announcements, in the halls and on the walls, students are recognized for random acts of
leadership: responsibility, citizenship, trustworthiness, honesty, respect, caring and fairness. Additionally,
in the morning announcements, teachers motivate students to be the best leaders that they can be through
daily inspirational leadership quotes to get them off to a great start each day. Students are encouraged to
walk with a purpose and perform at their highest potential every day.

DESA students understand that they have a responsibility to the community and the environment, and are
therefore very active in community service projects. Annually, our school participates in Common Cents,
a student-driven educational program that teaches philanthropy, fundraising, and leadership skills that
enrich their lives and prepare them for the future. Moreover, our students volunteer with the Trinity River
Project; initiate recycling programs on campus and in the community; educate community members on
environmental issues such as the deterioration of the Blackland Prairies; mentor students at the
neighboring elementary school; collaborate with senior citizens at the senior living center across the
street; and collaborate with city officials to make our schools safer.

DESA students are actively involved in extracurricular activities such as National Junior Honor Society,
Student Council, Robotics, Color Guard, Yearbook, Newspaper, Guitar, intramural sports, including
basketball and soccer, Diva Steppers, Spirit Leaders, Green Team, Science Fair and Math and Science
Olympiad on a daily basis during Advisory. Since most of our students are bussed in from all over Dallas
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and depend on the district’s transportation system, it is necessary for us to create opportunities such as
these during the instructional day to balance their academic lives and enhance our rigorous academic
programs.

DESA teachers participate in ongoing content-specific professional development that is focused on
inquiry, problem-solving, project-based learning and technology integration. They also engage in job-
embedded professional development in our professional learning communities where they share best
practices, analyze data, evaluate student work, provide support and discuss current realities about student
performance. Hence, there is an expectation that all students perform at high levels.

Stakeholders of the Dallas Environmental Science Academy are valued and given multiple opportunities
to provide input and collaborate with faculty and staff on issues such as campus improvement planning,
resources, enrichment activities and community service projects through the Parent Teacher Association
and Site-Based Decision Making Team.




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PART IV - INDICATORS OF ACADEMIC SUCCESS                                                              11TX5



1. Assessment Results:

Positive academic growth continues at DESA with a change in administration this school year. Principal
Angela West joined DESA in August 2010 and brought with her an inclusive philosophy of education.
Her philosophy is based on building a professional learning community grounded in trustworthiness,
integrity and accountability while emphasizing data-driven decision making, academic and fiscal
excellence and a collaborative approach to continuous student improvement.

Over the past five years, DESA students in grades seven and eight have met the standard in reading and
math. Grade six met the standard for the past four years. Prior to 2005-2006, grade six was considered
elementary level. One hundred percent of DESA’s students took the state criterion-referenced test, the
Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, for the past five years and scored higher than the state
average.

Grade six had a reading commended rating of 74 percent their first year at DESA. In 2007-2008, the
commended rate increased by 4 percent with a score of 78 percent. In the 2008-2009 school year, we saw
a decrease in the reading commended rate to 67 percent. This 11 percent decrease is a reflection of faculty
and curriculum changes. Last year, 2009-2010, we saw a return to 74 percent commended for this grade
for reading.

One hundred percent of seventh grade DESA students met the standard in reading every year except
2007-2008. The result was a 1 percent decrease. Years four and five saw the largest increase in
commended ratings. Year five resulted in a 28 percent rise in commended scores; year four the increase
was 26 percent with a commended rating of 54 percent. Year three, 2007-2008, the commended rate
increased 4 percent with 58 percent commended. The years 2008-2010 were consistent, revealing a
commended rating of 52 percent.

DESA’s eighth grade reading commended scores remained above the state’s commended scores. They are
as follows: year 5, 68 percent; year 4, 52 percent; year 3, 82 percent; year 2, 83 percent; and year 1, 76
percent. The numbers fluctuate due to curriculum and faculty changes over the last five years.

Sixth grade DESA students met the standard in mathematics 100 percent of the time. Grade six scored 67
percent commended for 2006-2007. An increase of 4 percent for 2007-2008 resulted in 71 percent
commended. Grade six commended scores for years 1 and 2 were 63 percent. Grade seven met the
standard for year 5 at 83 percent; year 4, 96 percent; year 3, 95 percent; year 2, 97 percent; and year 1,
100 percent. During the past five years, Dallas ISD changed the math curriculum for the seventh and
eighth grades. The Apollo and Saturn curriculum projects replaced the original curriculum. This change,
along with faculty changes, accounts for the fluctuation in scores. Grade eight made gains in year 3 and
year 2. Their commended scores are as follows: year 5, 35 percent; year 4, 30 percent; year 3, 48 percent;
year 2, 46 percent; and year 1, 42 percent.

At DESA, we study our student subgroups to determine how to increase our commended scores on the
Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills. DESA’s sixth, seventh and eighth grades are meeting the
state-mandated assessments, but there is always room for growth. DESA’s ultimate goal is 100 percent
commended in grades six, seven and eight.

In the most recent year of assessment, 2009-2010, there is an unfortunate achievement gap of 10 or more
percent between the commended scores of African Americans in mathematics and those of the other
subgroups. Grade six revealed a 13 percent difference in scores; grade seven revealed a 10 percent gap in
scores; and eighth grade revealed a 21 percent difference in scores.

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Several strategies are in place to close the achievement gap between African Americans and other
subgroups. There is a continued focus on quality instruction that is driven by a rigorous curriculum, high
standards, high expectations of all students and professional development that is based on the needs of
teachers and students. Assessment is always aligned with the standards, providing ownership through
student-generated profiles and ongoing evaluation of student learning. We focus on meeting individual
student needs and rely on strong parental and community support.

The 2010 Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills vertical scale scores vary by grade level and
subject. In grade six reading, the met standard score is 644; grade seven is 670; and grade eight is 700.
For commended in reading, grade six is 797; grade seven is 829; and grade eight is 850. Met standard in
mathematics for grade six is 637; grade seven is 670; and grade eight is 700. For commended in
mathematics, grade six is 783; grade seven is 823; and grade eight is 850.

The websites used for our state assessment results are: https://mydata.dallasisd.org, (campus data packet),
http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/perfreport/aeis/ and http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index3.aspx?id=3818&menu.

2. Using Assessment Results:

At the Dallas Environmental Science Academy, we take data very seriously. Our team understands that
data is not only a way to find students’ strengths and weaknesses, but it also serves as a tool to discover
trends across subject areas and grade levels.

We use fifth grade TAKS scores to analyze strengths and weaknesses of our incoming sixth graders. This
allows our sixth grade team of teachers to analyze TAKS scores and prepare in advance to address
students’ weaknesses and enhance their strengths. Because our sixth graders are new to the middle school
setting, we strive to make sure they adjust academically by monitoring their progress throughout the
school year. Our goal is to always increase commendable TAKS scores and maintain our Exemplary
status. Our school is unique in that most students come to us already performing at a high level
academically, but we want to ensure that they move forward with more gains.

Each department at DESA meets collaboratively for an hour and a half each week. We use summative
assessments such as Dallas ISD’s Benchmarks and Assessment of Course Performance (ACP) tests and
formative assessments such at student produced artifacts to assess students’ mastering of the TEKS. After
meeting departmentally, the faculty then meets by grade level to look for trends and create intervention
plans. These intervention plans include bringing specialists from the district to lead instruction on our
campus so students are able to focus on targeted TEKS.

In class, students assess their own progress after formative and summative assessments. They graph
assessment results by TEKS that were tested and highlight the percentage of questions they answered
correctly for each learning objective. The students can see immediately the TEKS they still must master.
Then, they write a reflection and set their own goals for improvement.

Every year, our principal meets one-on-one with each student at the start of the spring semester to discuss
their progress, create goals to master all TEKS from all subject areas, and to create a plan of action to
keep improving throughout the remainder of the school year. To accomplish this, the principal and
students use the aforementioned TEKS grids they completed during class.

3. Communicating Assessment Results:

At the Dallas Environmental Science Academy, assessment results and student progress are first analyzed
in faculty, collaborative, grade level and Campus Instructional Leadership Team meetings. Then, DESA
informs its community of the assessment results in a number of ways. These include:




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       Parent Portal: Parents access their child’s attendance, previous test results, report cards,
        assignments and current grades on the district’s online system. This access promotes increased
        parent/child and parent/teacher communication to ensure student success.

       Progress Reports: Reports are issued every three weeks and frequently emailed and distributed by
        teachers to inform parents of their child’s academic progress and social skills behaviors.

       Site-Based Decision Making Team and Parent Teacher Association: Assessment results are
        shared and discussed with parents and community members and are also used to develop the
        Campus Improvement Plan.

       Teacher/Student Conferences: Teachers and students have academic conferences to set up a
        support system, such as after school tutoring or providing additional assistance during the
        advisory class period. Teachers also communicate and discuss assessment results with students to
        set future TAKS goals for the upcoming school year.

       Teacher/Parent Conferences: Teachers inform parents of their child’s progress, challenges,
        accomplishments, achievements and concerns either by phone or face-to-face interactions.

       Principal/Student Conferences: The principal meets with each student on a one-to-one basis to
        discuss previous test results, semester grades, benchmark scores, final exam grades, goals and
        action plans to help him/her to achieve the goals.

       School Report Card: This report is distributed to parents and provides information regarding the
        campus’s TAKS performance data by subpopulations, teacher-student ratio, campus
        acknowledgements and budget.

       Recruiting Fairs: The principal, counselor, teachers, students and support staff inform in-district
        and out-of-district students and parents about the school’s academic performance and specialized
        programs of study at the District Magnet Fair and Open House in an effort to recruit interested
        and qualified applicants.

       Newsletters: Newsletters are periodically sent home informing and reminding parents of
        assessment results, campus academic goals and strategies that can be implemented at home to
        help achieve our goals.

At DESA, everyone understands that our success is contingent upon parental and community
involvement. Therefore, it is essential that we inform our stakeholders of our past academic
achievements, our current academic status, and our future academic endeavors.

4. Sharing Lessons Learned:

The Dallas Environmental Science Academy strives for excellence, and we love sharing our success
stories. We use many different avenues to keep parents, staff and students up-to-date and informed by
posting our achievements. This includes a school website, parent teacher conferences, email updates, the
Parent Portal and faculty meetings.

We have a school website that highlights the school’s achievements along with individual student
accomplishments. The main page shows our recent awards and highlights our Live to Give grant, a
$15,000 Texas Parks and Wildlife grant given to the school to promote awareness about the Blackland
Prairies. The website also has links for parents and students to stay current on what is happening in the
classroom, ways to encourage parent partnerships within the school, suggestions for helping students
maximize their learning and upcoming events.

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We also reach out to parents with a weekly email update to keep them involved in the current events of
the school. The Parent Portal allows instant access to students’ grades and test scores, giving parents the
opportunity to encourage students to keep up with their assignments. It also alerts parents of any issues
before the end of a grading period.

The faculty has mandatory parent teacher conferences twice a year and at other times as requested by
parents or teachers. This builds a sense of partnership between parents and teachers and opens the doors
of communication. Parents and teachers work together to make sure the students maximize their effort
and perform at the highest level possible.

The faculty also communicates with one another at weekly grade level meetings and monthly staff
meetings. The expectation of the school is that all students pass their ACP and TAKS tests, and our goal
is that every student earns commended status on the TAKS tests. We use these meetings to share new
teaching methods and individual classroom successes. Recently, we implemented Socratic Circles in the
classroom and shared our experiences at a faculty meeting.

Communication is a key component of the success of students as DESA, and we use as many ways as
possible to make sure students and teachers are all performing at their absolute best.




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PART V - CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION                                                                    11TX5



1. Curriculum:

The Dallas Environmental Science Academy offers a unique educational program to sixth, seventh and
eighth grade students who have a strong interest in science. Students have the opportunity to study and
explore both the environment and the urban setting as well as strive to reach higher standards in science
and mathematics. The school takes a hands-on approach to learning by taking learning beyond the school
doors.

The core curricula implemented includes language arts, math, reading, science and social studies. Courses
in environmental studies are also part of the required curriculum. Classes in art, physical education,
technology applications, plus our talented and gifted program provide a well-rounded education for our
students. All disciplines are guided by the Principles of Learning with an emphasis on awareness and
responsibility to the environment.

Our language arts and reading curriculum delves into writing, comprehension, vocabulary development,
and listening and speaking skills. Instruction is delivered through textbooks, online tutorials, literary
selections and advanced placement resources such as Laying the Foundation. Research-based strategies
utilizing higher order thinking skills drive the lesson structure to meet the needs of all students.

The math curriculum is broken into grade levels. Students take Math 6, Math 7 Pre-AP and Algebra 1
Pre-AP. Each year focuses on the following math concepts: number, operation and quantitative reasoning;
patterns, relationships and algebraic thinking; geometry and spatial reasoning; probability and statistics;
measurement; and underlying processes and mathematical tools. The concepts are addressed at increasing
levels of complexity as students advance. Project-based lessons are structured to encourage higher order
thinking. One such project is Monarch Math, which gives students the opportunity to care for and
measure milkweed plants for monarch butterflies.

All students are exposed to two sessions of science. One session is the district required grade level science
class. The second session is an environmental studies course unique to our school. In both classes,
students are engaged from bell to bell in project-based learning, laboratory activities and a hands-on
approach to discovery. The use of foldables, poster projects, construction of 3-D models and other
enrichment projects are the norm in these classes. Science instruction is supplemented with a variety of
field trips, including partnership with the Environmental Education Center in Seagoville, Texas, and our
culminating outdoor education program in Glen Rose, Texas.

The social studies curriculum is based on district and state standards and actively engages students in
history and geography at the state, national and global levels. Students in all three grade levels are
apprenticed as historians to deepen their knowledge by using activities in which they apply historians’
habits of thinking. They learn by using the political, economic, geographical, and social perspectives of
history and by gaining knowledge based on essential questions and enduring understandings. A variety of
hands-on activities are used in individual and group settings and include projects, role-playing and
disciplinary literacy.

Our fine arts curriculum is strongly based in science and math to teach cross-curricular content in every
lesson through the medium of art. The art program is formulated based on state and district standards with
continuous modifications based on the needs of students and to support the other content areas. The art
program also emphasizes environmental awareness. Students are encouraged to be creative in the use of
recycled products and alternative resources in the production of their projects.

The physical education curriculum is built around three programs that teach fitness, health and social
awareness. The Fitnessgram assessment is a basic physical fitness and skills assessment given to each
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student as a benchmark of their fitness level. The CATCH program (Coordinated Approach to Child
Health) is a school-wide program designed to improve the health of all children and to help prevent
childhood obesity and diabetes. This program covers nutrition, healthy physical activities and
fundamental skills activities that are used across the curriculum. Finally, the social skills program teaches
students social skills and important character qualities from the Character Counts system.

Our school has a distinctive technology department that offers Gateway to Technology and Technology
Applications to seventh and eighth grade students. Gateway to Technology is an activities-oriented
program designed to challenge and engage the natural curiosity and imagination of middle school
students. In Technology Applications, students study terms, concepts and data input strategies so that they
can learn to make informed decisions about various technologies and their applications.

Due to a shortage of certified Spanish teachers in Texas, a small enrollment, limited teacher allocations
and a rigorous science program that requires students to take two science classes at each grade level,
Spanish is offered via online courses to our students. Additionally, plans are being made to offer
traditional seventh and eighth grade Spanish classes in the 2011-2012 school year.

2. Reading/English:

The English/Language Arts curriculum is influenced by the Campus Improvement Plan from our yearly
focus on established High Priority Goals. The ELA curriculum takes an innovative approach to reading
and ELA instruction that emphasizes the skills of speaking, listening, reading, written composition,
spelling and the mechanics of writing (grammar, usage and capitalization). Careful attention has been
placed on instructional strategies with respect to comprehension such as connecting, inferring,
monitoring, predicting, questioning, summarizing and visualizing. This is done through the understanding
and use of specific metacognitive strategies in a literature rich environment. Our current textbook
adoption reflects the integration of the language arts (listening, speaking, reading, written composition,
spelling and mechanics of writing) as well as a balanced approach to reading.

Through reading, speaking, writing, viewing, listening and representing, our students use their skills in
reading and language arts in purposeful ways. The curriculum offers seventh and eighth grade students
the opportunity to take Pre-Advanced Placement courses. Selected sixth grade students may enter the
Talented and Gifted program. All students are asked to inquire into important subject areas, to make
connections across books and content and to evaluate others’ works as well as their own through the
utilization of rubrics. Instruction in the area of word identification is balanced with instructional strategies
that emphasize comprehension strategies such as predicting, reading to get the gist, self-monitoring and
rereading. In addition to the already established curriculum, reading and writing camps are held
throughout the year in order for students to grasp concepts and skills that are critical for their academic
success.

Students reading below grade level are not an issue on our campus due to our academic acceptance
requirement. In lieu of this policy, the following measures are in place to ensure that a high-quality
reading program is afforded to all students, including those who are at grade level but are challenged by
reading. All ELA teachers attend the required 21 hours of professional development during the summer as
well as district and Region 10 courses that are aligned with the needs of our student population. Teachers
are also involved in book and article studies to enrich their minds with ideas that will better serve our
students in becoming avid readers and making connections to prior knowledge, to self, to the text and to
the world.

3. Mathematics:

As a complement to science, exemplary math instruction is critical to our students’ academic success.
Math curriculum and instruction is driven by state and local standards, our Campus Improvement Plan
and our professional development training. The foundation of our curriculum is centered on numbers and
operations, patterns and relationships, geometry and measurement, probability and statistics, and
                                                                                                             14
qualitative and spatial reasoning. Algebraic thinking is another important component in our curriculum.
Beginning with our sixth grade classes, math teachers use this foundation as a guide to develop lesson
plans that encourage higher order thinking across all grade levels.

 Many math classes begin with bell ringers, short activities designed to prepare students for class and to
engage them in the learning process. Students often lead discussions focused on evaluating math
problems, which allow teachers to informally assess their progress. Algebra I and Math 7 Pre-AP students
use the district-developed Apollo and Endeavor math programs for high level activities designed to
enhance understanding. Also, increased technology has bolstered our level of instruction. Not only do
students have access to online textbooks and lessons, but instructional videos, games and online
assessment programs provide students with tools that have resulted in an increased understanding of math
concepts and higher test scores.

Each year, the math department hosts an all-day math camp to motivate students as they prepare for local
and statewide testing. The entire Dallas Environmental Science Academy family guides students through
math orientated games and activities to build their skills. Prior to TAKS testing, students have additional
opportunities to practice math skills such as measurement, conversion, fractions and ratios through
targeted instruction in advisory classes. Each advisory is rotated periodically to ensure that all students
have the opportunity to strengthen their understanding of each math concept.

Students struggling with math concepts have options to improve their understanding. Teachers conduct in
school and after school tutoring sessions several times a week. Students also have access to online
tutoring programs, which promote self-management of learning. We believe that students need as much
help and support at home as they receive at school. Therefore, we developed a school-wide program that
encourages parent participation by requesting that parents work with their children daily for a specified
amount of time to ensure academic achievement. Together, we all work to ensure students’ success in
math.

4. Additional Curriculum Area:

In addition to the strong core curriculum, students at the Dallas Environmental Science Academy take
environmental studies. The environmental studies science class is a mandatory elective for all grade
levels. Through this course, students are tasked with acquiring knowledge to better care for our planet by
acquiring the essential skills and information on the impact of human behavior on Earth. The course
expands the topics presented in the Dallas Independent School District’s curriculum planning guide with
additional studies in three environmental strands: ecology, energy and land management.

The environmental goals are accomplished in a multitude of ways. First, the school has a partnership with
the Environmental Education Center in Seagoville, Texas, a Dallas Independent School District facility.
Students attend two field trips per grade level each year, once in the fall and once in the spring. Students
are exposed to pond water ecology, a study of the Post Oak forest, the grassland prairie restoration,
weathering, limnology, understanding climate and weather, composting, animal adaptations and the
Quanah Parker Garden Project. Our school also has a partnership with the Environmental Protection
Agency of Dallas. Speakers from various departments visit our school and present laboratory activities.
We also attend the Earth Day celebration in Dallas, exposing students to the care and nurturing of the
Earth, including participation in the recycled art contest. Other off-campus experiences include visits to
the Planetarium at University of Texas in Arlington, the Sixth Floor Museum, the Dallas World
Aquarium, The TXI cement processing plant in Midlothian, Texas, and other field trips.

Our annual culminating event is an outdoor education program in Glen Rose, Texas. Each grade level
travels to Glen Rose, where for three days we camp on-site. All lessons are tied to the study of the
environment. Environmental Studies classes are held in and near the Paluxy River. Studies include
limnology, collection of macro-invertebrates for identification and quantity, oxygen content of the river
and entomology. The study of the environment extends beyond the science classes to include cross-
curricular activities. Eighth grade students visit Tarleton University and seventh grade students visit the

                                                                                                              15
Fossil Rim Wildlife Center. Ultimately, through the environmental studies course and our field trips,
students gain an enhanced awareness of the environment.

5. Instructional Methods:

At the Dallas Environmental Science Academy, students participate in activities that enhance their
observation skills and build their critical thinking skills. With a multidisciplinary approach in all content
areas, small classes to foster individual attention and expert guidance by a highly qualified staff, our
students are challenged to become active shapers of their environment.

Our students come from a variety of social and ethnic backgrounds with various academic strengths and
interests. As an academy, our students often have strengths in some subjects and struggle more in other
subjects, making differentiation a constant and dynamic aspect of instruction in all content areas. Students
are continuously challenged to move beyond their current level in every subject and push the limits of
their achievement.

To meet this challenge in instruction, advanced courses are offered to students who qualify in math,
language arts and the Talented and Gifted program. Students are given options for their projects and
products, providing them with the freedom to be creative while still pushing their learning and staying
aligned with the lesson objectives. Instruction in all courses is modified to various levels of complexity in
order to meet the needs of each student, allowing individuals to go as far as they are able in each activity.

Outside of class, students are presented with a number of opportunities for extra support and assistance as
well as opportunities for enrichment and advanced learning. After school tutoring sessions, dedicated
study classes during advisory and homework support after school keep students on track with their
learning. Additionally, content-specific camps are held throughout the year to target key areas such as
math, language arts and social studies.

Enrichment opportunities are also provided for students to apply their knowledge to real-world challenges
and activities. These activities include Robotics Team, Mock Trial, Math and Science Olympiad, UIL,
Science Fair, Green Team and National Junior Honor Society. These activities are tailored to advance the
learning of the students by building on their in-class knowledge through practical application and
experience.

6. Professional Development:

At the Dallas Environmental Science Academy, we establish High Priority Goals that drive instruction
and professional development with guidance from the Campus Improvement Plan and resources from the
Institute for Learning. All teachers complete 21 hours of required professional development, which
includes yearly content updates for each department. Teachers also attend additional professional
development opportunities with emphasis on creativity, lesson design and inquiry. The majority of
professional development outside of core content is focused on four key areas: disciplinary literacy, gifted
and talented, technology applications and the Principles of Learning.

Disciplinary literacy focuses on the use of a variety of written and visual resources for analysis. Students
are exposed to literary resources in various forms in all content areas, so enhancing the faculty’s skills in
this area is a vital aspect of our professional development program. For example, Socratic Seminar
training prepared teachers to guide students through a discussion to engage them in reading, listening and
speaking.

As an academy, we have a high percentage of gifted and talented students; therefore, it is incumbent upon
our staff to attend training that will add value to this population. Training in this area focuses on
encouraging creativity in projects and meeting the unique social and emotional needs of high-performing
students.

                                                                                                            16
Technology is a powerful way to meet the needs of the visual, auditory, kinesthetic and tactile learners
through the use of data projectors, document cameras, interactive tablets, interactive white boards and
online learning activities. Training in new technology and technology applications is ongoing for our
faculty through a monthly program known as Technology Tuesdays. This program provides teachers with
new tools to engage students in instruction and builds upon the 21st century technology skills that students
will need to achieve success in their future endeavors.

The Principles of Learning are a framework through which we analyze our effectiveness as a school in the
areas of Academic Rigor, Accountable Talk, Clear Expectations and Self-Management of Learning.
Learning WalksSM are used throughout the year to discover specific ways to increase student achievement
aligned with academic standards. Tools such as rubrics are one example of a specific application of the
Clear Expectations principle that has been enhanced at our school. Self-Management of Learning is
addressed through individual profiles that students create and use to reflect on their course progress and
mastery of state objectives.

7. School Leadership:

At the Dallas Environmental Science Academy, our leadership framework is based on a collaborative and
inclusive model where the entire faculty, staff and student body are part of the DESA family. To be
successful as a school, we must work together and draw strength from each other to lead our students to
academic success.

At the head of our family is the administration team, which includes our principal and counselor. The
principal collaborates with the staff and key stakeholders about the mission, vision and goals for the
campus. One strategy used by the principal during the school year is to meet personally with each student.
These meetings encourage students to reflect on their academic progress, promoting self-management of
learning. The counselor continuously monitors the students through sessions in organization, study skills,
Character Counts, college and career readiness, and the high school selection process. Our administration
supports and encourages our teachers to initiate new strategies, seek innovative programs that enhance
our curriculum and improve and build on existing programs that have had a positive impact on student
achievement.

Working closely with our administration is the Campus Instructional Leadership Team, comprised of key
members of the faculty. Through state, regional, local and campus- based training, CILT gathers
information and resources to bring to the campus. Principal-led and teacher-led professional development
and professional learning communities foster collaboration and build leadership capacity among the staff.

The heartbeat of DESA is the teachers who work every day to push their students to academic excellence.
Teachers are empowered to make decisions about improving student learning by taking risks and thinking
outside of the box.

Student leaders are recruited and developed to lead the various extracurricular programs that DESA
offers. As the majority population in the school, DESA students play a vital role in the leadership of our
school. Through programs such as National Junior Honor Society, Student Council, Color Guard, Spirit
Leaders and the DESA Diva Steppers, our students are given the opportunity to present their perspectives
and affect the future of the school. Notable activities have included attending national and state leadership
conferences and important events such as President Barack Obama’s inauguration.




                                                                                                          17
PART VII - ASSESSMENT RESULTS
                          STATE CRITERION-REFERENCED TESTS
                                                                     Grade: Test: Texas Assessment of Knowledge
Subject: Mathematics
                                                                     6      and Skills
Edition/Publication Year: 2007-2010 Publications -
                                                                     Publisher: Pearson
New Each Year
                                                     2009-2010 2008-2009 2007-2008 2006-2007 2005-2006
        Testing Month                                  Apr            Apr       Apr        Apr
        SCHOOL SCORES
        Met Standard                                   100            100       100        100
        Commended                                       63            63         71        67
        Number of students tested                       76            54         69        66
        Percent of total students tested               100            100       100        100
        Number of students alternatively assessed       0              0         0          0
        Percent of students alternatively assessed      0              0         0          0
        SUBGROUP SCORES
        1. Free/Reduced-Price Meals/Socio-economic Disadvantaged Students
        Met Standard                                   100            100       100        100
        Commended                                       66            60         71        66
        Number of students tested                       60            35         51        55
        2. African American Students
        Met Standard                                   100            100       100        100
        Commended                                       50            63         77        85
        Number of students tested                       22            19         17        13
        3. Hispanic or Latino Students
        Met Standard                                   100            100       100        100
        Commended                                       69            59         73        66
        Number of students tested                       48            29         40        47
        4. Special Education Students
        Met Standard
        Commended
        Number of students tested
        5. English Language Learner Students
        Met Standard
        Commended
        Number of students tested
        6. White Students
        Met Standard                                                            100
        Commended                                                                60
        Number of students tested                                                10
        NOTES: 1. During the 2005-2006 school year, the enrollment did not include sixth grade students.
                                                             11TX5




                                                                                                             18
                          STATE CRITERION-REFERENCED TESTS
                                                                     Grade: Test: Texas Assessment of Knowledge
Subject: Reading
                                                                     6      and Skills
Edition/Publication Year: 2007-2010 Publications -
                                                                     Publisher: Pearson
New Each Year
                                                     2009-2010 2008-2009 2007-2008 2006-2007 2005-2006
        Testing Month                                  Apr            Apr       Apr        Apr
        SCHOOL SCORES
        Met Standard                                    99            100       100        100
        Commended                                       74            67         78        74
        Number of students tested                       76            54         69        66
        Percent of total students tested               100            100       100        100
        Number of students alternatively assessed       0              0         0          0
        Percent of students alternatively assessed      0              0         0          0
        SUBGROUP SCORES
        1. Free/Reduced-Price Meals/Socio-economic Disadvantaged Students
        Met Standard                                    98            100       100        100
        Commended                                       78            63         73        78
        Number of students tested                       60            35         51        55
        2. African American Students
        Met Standard                                   100            100       100        100
        Commended                                       77            58         77        69
        Number of students tested                       22            19         17        13
        3. Hispanic or Latino Students
        Met Standard                                    98            100       100        100
        Commended                                       75            69         78        77
        Number of students tested                       48            29         40        47
        4. Special Education Students
        Met Standard
        Commended
        Number of students tested
        5. English Language Learner Students
        Met Standard
        Commended
        Number of students tested
        6. White Students
        Met Standard                                                            100
        Commended                                                                80
        Number of students tested                                                10
        NOTES: 1. During the 2005-2006 school year, the enrollment did not include sixth grade students.
                                                             11TX5




                                                                                                             19
                          STATE CRITERION-REFERENCED TESTS
                                                                     Grade: Test: Texas Assessment of Knowledge
Subject: Mathematics
                                                                     7      and Skills
Edition/Publication Year: 2006-2010 Publications -
                                                                     Publisher: Pearson
New Each Year
                                                     2009-2010 2008-2009 2007-2008 2006-2007 2005-2006
        Testing Month                                  Apr            Apr       Apr       Apr     Apr
        SCHOOL SCORES
        Met Standard                                   100            97         95       96       83
        Commended                                       40            26         38       51       18
        Number of students tested                       73            65         74       67       88
        Percent of total students tested               100            100       100       100     100
        Number of students alternatively assessed       0              0         0         0       0
        Percent of students alternatively assessed      0              0         0         0       0
        SUBGROUP SCORES
        1. Free/Reduced-Price Meals/Socio-economic Disadvantaged Students
        Met Standard                                   100            96         97       95       86
        Commended                                       38            30         41       54       17
        Number of students tested                       53            46         58       56       66
        2. African American Students
        Met Standard                                   100            100        92       84       71
        Commended                                       30            20         46       26       0
        Number of students tested                       23            15         13       19       24
        3. Hispanic or Latino Students
        Met Standard                                   100            95         94       100      89
        Commended                                       42            32         35       59       22
        Number of students tested                       43            41         54       39       55
        4. Special Education Students
        Met Standard
        Commended
        Number of students tested
        5. English Language Learner Students
        Met Standard
        Commended
        Number of students tested
        6.
        Met Standard
        Commended
        Number of students tested
        NOTES:
                                                             11TX5




                                                                                                             20
                          STATE CRITERION-REFERENCED TESTS
                                                                     Grade: Test: Texas Assessment of Knowledge
Subject: Reading
                                                                     7      and Skills
Edition/Publication Year: 2006-2010 Publications -
                                                                     Publisher: Pearson
New Each Year
                                                     2009-2010 2008-2009 2007-2008 2006-2007 2005-2006
        Testing Month                                  Apr            Apr       Apr       Apr     Apr
        SCHOOL SCORES
        Met Standard                                   100            100        99       100      98
        Commended                                       52            52         58       54       28
        Number of students tested                       73            65         74       67       88
        Percent of total students tested               100            100       100       100     100
        Number of students alternatively assessed       0              0         0         0       0
        Percent of students alternatively assessed      0              0         0         0       0
        SUBGROUP SCORES
        1. Free/Reduced-Price Meals/Socio-economic Disadvantaged Students
        Met Standard                                   100            100       100       100      99
        Commended                                       47            57         62       54       28
        Number of students tested                       53            46         58       56       66
        2. African American Students
        Met Standard                                   100            100       100       100     100
        Commended                                       57            53         62       32       29
        Number of students tested                       23            15         13       19       24
        3. Hispanic or Latino Students
        Met Standard                                   100            100        98       100      98
        Commended                                       51            49         56       62       31
        Number of students tested                       43            41         54       39       55
        4. Special Education Students
        Met Standard
        Commended
        Number of students tested
        5. English Language Learner Students
        Met Standard
        Commended
        Number of students tested
        6.
        Met Standard
        Commended
        Number of students tested
        NOTES:
                                                             11TX5




                                                                                                             21
                          STATE CRITERION-REFERENCED TESTS
                                                                     Grade: Test: Texas Assessment of Knowledge
Subject: Mathematics
                                                                     8      and Skills
Edition/Publication Year: 2006-2010 Publications -
                                                                     Publisher: Pearson
New Each Year
                                                     2009-2010 2008-2009 2007-2008 2006-2007 2005-2006
        Testing Month                                  Apr            Apr       Apr       Apr     Apr
        SCHOOL SCORES
        Met Standard                                   100            100       100       91       99
        Commended                                       42            46         48       30       35
        Number of students tested                       66            69         71       77       88
        Percent of total students tested               100            100       100       100     100
        Number of students alternatively assessed       0              0         0         0       0
        Percent of students alternatively assessed      0              0         0         0       0
        SUBGROUP SCORES
        1. Free/Reduced-Price Meals/Socio-economic Disadvantaged Students
        Met Standard                                   100            100       100       91       99
        Commended                                       48            49         53       29       36
        Number of students tested                       49            53         59       63       66
        2. African American Students
        Met Standard                                   100            100       100       80       96
        Commended                                       21            54         30       20       33
        Number of students tested                       14            13         20       20       27
        3. Hispanic or Latino Students
        Met Standard                                   100            100       100       94      100
        Commended                                       52            45         48       33       33
        Number of students tested                       44            51         42       51       54
        4. Special Education Students
        Met Standard
        Commended
        Number of students tested
        5. English Language Learner Students
        Met Standard
        Commended
        Number of students tested
        6.
        Met Standard
        Commended
        Number of students tested
        NOTES:
                                                             11TX5




                                                                                                             22
                          STATE CRITERION-REFERENCED TESTS
                                                                     Grade: Test: Texas Assessment of Knowledge
Subject: Reading
                                                                     8      and Skills
Edition/Publication Year: 2006-2010 Publications -
                                                                     Publisher: Pearson
New Each Year
                                                     2009-2010 2008-2009 2007-2008 2006-2007 2005-2006
        Testing Month                                  Apr            Apr       Apr       Apr     Apr
        SCHOOL SCORES
        Met Standard                                   100            100       100       100     100
        Commended                                       76            83         82       52       68
        Number of students tested                       66            69         71       77       88
        Percent of total students tested               100            100       100       100     100
        Number of students alternatively assessed       0              0         0         0       0
        Percent of students alternatively assessed      0              0         0         0       0
        SUBGROUP SCORES
        1. Free/Reduced-Price Meals/Socio-economic Disadvantaged Students
        Met Standard                                   100            100       100       100     100
        Commended                                       82            85         85       46       71
        Number of students tested                       49            53         59       63       66
        2. African American Students
        Met Standard                                   100            100       100       100     100
        Commended                                       71            69         65       60       63
        Number of students tested                       14            13         20       20       27
        3. Hispanic or Latino Students
        Met Standard                                   100            100       100       100     100
        Commended                                       75            84         86       49       70
        Number of students tested                       44            51         42       51       54
        4. Special Education Students
        Met Standard
        Commended
        Number of students tested
        5. English Language Learner Students
        Met Standard
        Commended
        Number of students tested
        6.
        Met Standard
        Commended
        Number of students tested
        NOTES:
                                                             11TX5




                                                                                                             23
                  STATE CRITERION-REFERENCED TESTS
                  Subject: Mathematics                             Grade: 0
                                             2009-2010 2008-2009 2007-2008 2006-2007 2005-2006
Testing Month                                  Apr           Apr      Apr     Apr       Apr
SCHOOL SCORES
Met Standard                                   100           99        98     95        91
Commended                                       49           44        52     48        27
Number of students tested                      215           188      214     210       176
Percent of total students tested               100           100      100     100       100
Number of students alternatively assessed       0             0        0       0         0
Percent of students alternatively assessed      0             0        0       0         0
SUBGROUP SCORES
1. Free/Reduced-Price Meals/Socio-economic Disadvantaged Students
Met Standard                                    99           99        98     95        92
Commended                                       51           46        54     48        27
Number of students tested                      162           134      168     174       131
2. African American Students
Met Standard                                   100           100       96     87        84
Commended                                       36           47        50     38        20
Number of students tested                       59           47        50     52        51
3. Hispanic or Latino Students
Met Standard                                    99           98        98     98        94
Commended                                       55           44        50     52        28
Number of students tested                      135           121      136     137       109
4. Special Education Students
Met Standard
Commended
Number of students tested
5. English Language Learner Students
Met Standard
Commended
Number of students tested
6. White Students
Met Standard                                   100           100      100
Commended                                       40           47        67
Number of students tested                       15           15        18
NOTES: Any numbers less than ten in any group were not reported.
                                                     11TX5




                                                                                                 24
                  STATE CRITERION-REFERENCED TESTS
                  Subject: Reading                                 Grade: 0
                                             2009-2010 2008-2009 2007-2008 2006-2007 2005-2006
Testing Month                                  Apr           Apr         Apr   Apr      Apr
SCHOOL SCORES
Met Standard                                   100           100         100   100      99
Commended                                       67           68           72   60       48
Number of students tested                      215           188         214   210      176
Percent of total students tested               100           100         100   100      100
Number of students alternatively assessed       0             0           0     0        0
Percent of students alternatively assessed      0             0           0     0        0
SUBGROUP SCORES
1. Free/Reduced-Price Meals/Socio-economic Disadvantaged Students
Met Standard                                    99           100         100   100      99
Commended                                       69           69           73   59       50
Number of students tested                      162           134         168   174      131
2. African American Students
Met Standard                                   100           100         100   100      100
Commended                                       68           60           68   52       47
Number of students tested                       59           47           50   52       51
3. Hispanic or Latino Students
Met Standard                                    99           100          99   100      99
Commended                                       67           69           71   62       50
Number of students tested                      135           121         136   137      109
4. Special Education Students
Met Standard
Commended
Number of students tested
5. English Language Learner Students
Met Standard
Commended
Number of students tested
6. White Students
Met Standard                                   100           100         100
Commended                                       80           80           78
Number of students tested                       15           15           18
NOTES: Any numbers less than ten in any group were not reported.
                                                     11TX5




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